Thursday, August 18, 2005

Notes From Beverly Glen

In 1943, Henry Miller first read about the life of Rimbaud. It was also the year he produced nearly 300 watercolours and exhibited them in Hollywood (this 1943 self-portrait--at left--was found at the Harry Ransom Center website). 1943 also marked the beginning of the Beverly Glen notebooks.

As far as I can tell, Beverly Glen is part of Bel Air area of Los Angeles. In June 1942, Miller (as he describes in Man Ray--Recollections) moved to Beverly Glen as a guest of writer Gilbert Neiman and his wife Margaret (he dedicated The Air-Conditioned Nightmare to them). The home is described as a "modest shack" which he'd dubbed 'The Green House': "I was just as poor then as I was when I arrived in Paris in 1930." At some point, he had a roomate: the painter John Dudley.

Many of his notes and sketches for this era (until 1946) are contained on the 26 page Beverly Glen Notebook, which appears to have been for sale via the PBA Galleries.

The site describes this document as being Miller's sketchbook, but also details many of the hand-written notes found within, including: Henry's "to do" lists (galleries and publishers to solicit, for example); self-advice ("Hour's walk before breakfast (no thinking!)...Drink fine wines every day! Type one hour per day - drudge work"); names of debts to pay off; ideas for titles of books and paintings, and more. A surprisingly (not?) frequent use of exclamation points are made by Henry!

Also, this 'To Do': "Get Leite to do only letters relating to `Tropic of Cancer,' dedicate to all the censors of this world and the next - including Soviet Russia & Young China.)."

This notebook continued until 1946. Miller moved to Big Sur in 1944 upon marrying Janina Lepska, and was writing Sexus during this 1944-46 period.

The Beverly Glen Notebook was never published. The original was sold at auction (the buyer, as always, a mystery) for somwhere between $2000-3000.


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